Sophomore Jake Langlois led No. 6 BYU men's volleyball past No. 9 Lewis in a five-set (25-22, 25-18, 20-25, 24-26, 15-11) thriller Saturday night at Stanford University.
"I though the whole demeanor of our team changed tonight," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "Yesterday we couldn't quite find a rhythm through the whole match. Tonight, we played phenomenally in those first two sets. Lewis found some rhythm of their own and battled back, credit to them. I would have liked to have seen us take the match in four, but the way the guys closed out the fifth set was impressive."
Langlois led the Cougars with a career-high 22 kills to go along with five digs and six blocks. Robbie Sutton added 49 assists and nine digs for a near double-double, while Jaylen Reyes chipped in a team-high 12 digs. Joseph Grosh led the team in blocks with 10 while adding nine kills for a near double-double. Tim Dobbert also contributed double-digit kills with 14 in the win.
Langlois had back-to-back kills for BYU (1-1) as it took a 5-1 early lead against Lewis (2-1) in the decisive fifth set. The Flyers then battled back with a trio of straight points to bring them within a point at 5-4. The Cougars countered with a 3-0 mini rally of their own, going back up 8-4 at the side change. McGown then called timeout as Lewis was able to get back within three at 10-7. The two sides then traded points until a pair of Flyer points brought them back within just two at 13-11, forcing another BYU break. A Langlois kill followed by a block by Price Jarman and Dobbert ended the set and match for the Cougars, 15-11.
A triple block from Kiril Meretev, Grosh and Sutton gave BYU a 4-2 edge over Lewis to begin the first set. The teams traded points from there until the Flyers scored four straight to go up 13-11 on the Cougars. BYU then rallied with a 5-1 run following a timeout, capped off by a Meretev and Grosh block, to retake a 16-14 advantage. Another Cougar block forced Lewis to take its first break of the set with BYU leading 19-16. The Flyers stayed in the set, however, going on a 4-1 rally to cut the Cougars' lead back to one at 22-21. A Lewis attack error ultimately ended the set in BYU's favor, 25-22.
A pair of consecutive service aces from Dobbert put the Cougars up 3-0 early in set two, and a stuff block kept them ahead by four, 7-3. The two teams went back and forth in scoring with Langlois contributing two kills in the stretch, keeping BYU ahead 13-8. Back-to-back blocks from Michael Hatch later extended the Cougars' advantage to seven at 20-13, forcing the Flyers to take their final timeout of the set. BYU then maintained control of the set, eventually taking it 25-18 after straight kills from Langlois.
To start the third set, the Cougars picked up where they left off, jumping out to a 4-1 advantage. BYU followed with a 5-1 run to extend its lead to four, but Lewis scored the next three points to bring it within one at 9-8. The score was knotted up at points 10 through 13 until the Flyers took their first lead of the set at 15-13 after three-straight Cougar errors. Lewis stayed ahead for the rest of the set, leading by as many as five while taking it 25-20 on an ace.
A Langlois and Grosh block helped propel BYU to a 5-2 lead to start the fourth set. The teams traded points until a trio of Flyer blocks helped Lewis take its first lead of the set at 12-10, which forced a Cougar timeout. Three-consecutive Langlois kills then tied the set back up at 16-apiece before BYU retook the lead 22-21 after a Dobbert kill. The Flyers worked their way past two Cougar set points to bring up a set point of their own at 25-24, forcing a BYU timeout. Lewis took the closely contested set 26-24 after a Greg Petty kill, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.
The Cougars return to the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday at 7 p.m. MST, against UCLA to begin Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. The match will be broadcast live on BYUtv. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men's volleyball schedule page.
Royce Hinton is the men's and women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.